Disgusting murder suspects laugh after hearing of victim's brutal injuries
Two murder suspects - Ralph Keppler and his girlfriend Francesca Kiel - reportedly laughed at a bail hearing earlier this week after learning of their victim's brutal injuries.
Theresa Kiel, the 56-year-old mother of Francesca, was found comatose Long Beach apartment building on Dec. 4, 2016, and eventually succumbed to her injuries last month after a long and painful struggle. 28-year-old Keppler has been accused of beating the woman with a weight, while 21-year-old Francesca Kiel allegedly helped him plot the attack.
Keppler, a former corrections officer at Rikers, pleaded not guilty to the charges back in February of this year, and faces ongoing legal action for his role in Theresa Kiel's death. Both he and his girlfriend have been charged with second degree murder and conspiracy. Francesca Kiel has also been charged with criminal facilitation and hindering prosecution.
The incident occurred just over two years ago when Keppler allegedly got into a business dispute with Theresa Kiel. Kiel was attempting to leave her apartment at the time of the argument, but Keppler stopped her by beating her around the head and face with a barbell. She suffered severe brain damage, a shattered skull and a depressed right eye.
Though Francesca Kiel is not believed to have been present at the time of the killing, prosecutors allege that she had been tracking her mother's movements via GPS, and would have known where she was at the time of her murder. She is also known to have called a taxi on the night of the crime, and used a company that confirmed they picked up Keppler from the vicinity of the murder scene.
"This former corrections officer and his girlfriend are charged with a brutal, premeditated attack that left Theresa Kiel in a vegetative state for nearly two years with catastrophic injuries that ultimately took her life," said District Attorney Madeline Singas. "Violence will never be tolerated in Nassau County, and our prosecutors are committed to holding these defendants accountable for the horrific murder alleged in this indictment."
At the bail hearing on Monday of this week, Nassau County prosecutor Stefanie Palma said, "[Keppler] and Francesca were laughing over the fact that she lost an eye."
It was also noted that Keppler texted "LMAO" after initially hearing that he had put his girlfriend's mother in a coma. "The bitch got what she deserved," he later added. It has not been determined whether these messages were sent to Francesca Kiel or someone else.
Kiel's family have maintained that the 21-year-old is also a victim in this scenario, and that she has been kept "under [Keppler's] control as a financial, emotional and sexual hostage," though her recent behaviour in court suggests otherwise.
Due to the severity of the crime, the judge has ordered that Keppler not be given bail. Kiel, meanwhile, has a $1.5 million bail over her head, and will remain in jail until her trial if nobody pays for her release.
If convicted, both suspects face 25 years to life behind bars.